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Parliamentary questions
26 June 2009
Answer given by Mr Barrot on behalf of the Commission

According to Article 12 TEC, every person holding the nationality of a Member State of the European Union is a citizen of the Union. In the current status of Community law, the conditions for obtaining and losing citizenship of the Member States are regulated exclusively under the national law of the individual Member States.

The Declaration on Nationality of a Member State annexed to the Treaty on European Union grants the possibility for the Member State to declare who are to be considered their nationals for Community purposes. The annex added to the Treaty on the Accession of the United Kingdom indicates the categories of British nationals that are to be considered citizens of the European Union (1982 Declaration by the Government of the United Kingdom on the definition of the terms ‘nationals’):

British citizens;
persons who are British subjects by virtue of Part IV of the British Nationality Act 1981 and who have the right of abode in the United Kingdom and are therefore exempt from United Kingdom immigration control;
British Dependent Territories citizens who acquire their citizenship from a connection with Gibraltar.

Accordingly, other British nationals are not citizens of the European Union and therefore, do not enjoy the rights conferred by Community law to European citizens.

The European Court of Justice confirmed in Case C‑192/99 Kaur that in order to determine whether a person is a national of the United Kingdom for the purposes of Community law, it is necessary to refer to the 1982 Declaration by the Government of the United Kingdom on the definition of the term ‘nationals’.

OJ C 189, 13/07/2010
Last updated: 3 July 2009Legal notice